A Racing the Reaper Man Year: April 2021

I have often written about Pressing the Reset. In the Racing the Reaper Man book, I intend to dedicate a whole chapter to this subject, but I will try and condense my meaning here. The shortest possibly explanation: it is changing all one’s detrimental habits to new, positive, healthier ones, making a permanent adjustment to have a fuller and fitter older age. It is easy to write this, but proof of my theory’s efficacy has needed a real, live subject. That subject is me. 

So far, the changes I made have been consciously followed and the temptation to grasp for hard wired comforts – booze, junk food, giving in to lounging about after a tough day – were a constant. I am no different to anyone, but my well-publicised experiment gave me the extra push to keep with the program. By April there was a sea change that had a direct influence on my progress. Put simply, the changes I had made, which had become ritualised with conscious effort, had become my way of life. I no longer thought of the changes as scripted. Indeed, I no longer thought of them at all. The Reset had kicked in. The net result of this was freedom. Freedom from the desire to eat crap; freedom from the desire for booze; freedom to fully accept my own commitment without being affected by naysayers. 

Running by Two Mile Oak in April

The changes in my body and general health were accelerating. My blood pressure was down, my weight continued to fall, and running was now a daily part of my life, not an addition. I no longer thought of having a rest, and had run a minimum of a mile for 127 continuous days without any negative effects. 

April was even more important as it was the month of my peak training weeks towards the 50k time trial I was running solo on 1st May. On the 3rd to 5th April I ran a 10, 20 and 10 without ill effects. The following weekend a 22 miler which meant I had covered the best part of 74 miles in 9 days. Martin’s core sessions with sprints, each Wednesday, were hard, but never destructive. I was much stronger. I ran a final long run of 10 miles on 17th April, then started to taper. The following day, on an easy 2-mile jog, I tripped and fell barely 700m from my house and cut up my left hand very badly! Two days later I sliced my third finger, right hand on a broken porcelain cup! Both nasty wounds that needed a series of dressings. I ran on…

Five days before the 50k, Martin put me through a fitness test: 1.5 miles at 8:11 pace followed immediately by 26 press ups and 41 pull ups. Brutal in its intensity, but I recovered quickly. The 50k was upon me, but that starts next month’s overview.

How did I fare in April?

  • Age 64
  • Weight progression:
    • Dec 31st: 13st 5lbs
    • End Jan: 13st 0lbs
    • End Feb: 12st 8.2lbs
    • End Mar: 12st 4.8lbs
    • End Apr: 12st 4lbs
  • BMI: Down from an initial 27.6 to 25.3
  • Avg kcal/day balance = 1500
  • Tummy: Down from an initial 38” in November, to 32”.

My weight was plateauing, but my tummy was still in retreat. I’d hit my target weight for the 50k. The strangest thing was the change in my mental processes. I sincerely could not understand why anyone would think my new lifestyle was boring or some kind of deprivation. I loved the food I was eating, loved the clarity of a sober mind, loved the way I have started to enjoy hard running again, and loved my new, slimmer body. A couple people told me I look ‘amazing for 64!” I couldn’t even understand that comment, in all honesty. As far as I am concerned, the only benchmark I have is me. I’m not special. I’m not a gifted sportsman. My running style is ‘industrial’ rather than refined. I have a few ailments common to people in my age group. To me, this is what 64 looks like. What are my limits? I have no idea, but I aim to explore that undiscovered country, to paraphrase Hamlet. So should we all, if we choose to.

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